Tag Archives: cholesterol

Toni Kuehneman

Fun with fiber


Wellness

Last week, my post concerned choosing better fats to help reduce blood cholesterol. This week, my topic is the other piece of the puzzle: fiber. Fat and fiber are the two nutrients to choose wisely to decrease blood cholesterol. Talking about fiber usually leads to embarrassing conversations. The movements (no pun intended) of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are usually not conversations enjoyed by the public. Words like stool, poop, gas, diarrhea, and constipation are considered private or reserved for the doctor’s office. Some comedians and movie producers use it for laughs. In this post, I will do my best to make the conversation interesting and fun. **Before I begin, a word of caution: if you have been diagnosed with a … Continue reading

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Toni Kuehneman

Know your fats


Wellness

Did you take the Life’s Simple Seven Quiz? Recall that in a recent post, I told you the American Heart Association (AHA) has narrowed heart healthy living to a list of Life’s Simple Seven.  (Go to www.americanheart.org.  Click on “Getting Healthy”.  Cursor down the page to: My Life Check-Life’s Simple Seven. Click on it and take the quiz.) When people focus on #2 – controlling blood cholesterol – they tend to eat better and lose weight. Just think, from working to lower cholesterol, you may accomplish three of the Life’s Simple Seven. The Facts on Fats It is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Thanks to the American Heart Association staff, we have two great YouTube videos: Bad … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Niaspan, HDL and Assumptions


Cardiology

A week and a half ago the National Institutes of Health pulled the plug on a research study assessing the effect of long-acting niacin (Niaspan) on the risk of heart attack and stroke among 3500 patients who had a combination of coronary disease and low levels of the protective form of cholesterol known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL).  It turns out that preliminary evaluation of the collected data in the Atherothrombosis Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome with Low HDL Cholesterol/High Triglyceride and Impact on Global Health Outcomes (AIM-HIGH) study revealed that Niaspan not only had no beneficial effect but may also have increased the risk of stroke among the volunteers who were randomly selected to be on this medication. To fully understand … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

New Cholesterol Drug Might Be Good News


Cardiology

There’s good news coming out of the world of cardiology drug research. In Chicago this last week at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, Dr. Christopher Cannon of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston announced the findings of the DEFINE trial, a study meant to assess the effect of a new drug called anacetrapib on lipid levels, most particularly the level of HDL cholesterol.  To put these findings into perspective I’ll bore you with a little history. We look at cholesterol as the composite of three general subtypes: triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).  This sort of breakdown is clinically useful despite being an oversimplification of a family of complex molecules.  LDL is the dangerous lipid … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Silent But Deadly


Cardiology

CNN recently reported on a study highlighting the prevalence of silent heart attacks.  The term “silent” in this phrase generally means that the event is not accompanied by the typically recognizable symptoms of a heart attack, i.e. chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.  It usually implies the discovery of a prior heart attack that the patient never knew anything about.  According the research done by doctors at Duke University the prevalence of silent heart attacks is higher than previously suspected, as judged by the presence of minor damage detected on experimental MRI scans.  One of the reasons these researchers were able to come to this conclusion is that the MRI is very sensitive to small amounts of damage and the … Continue reading

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